Midtown Santa Fe Planning Lacks Public Participation
The City of Santa Fe released a request for expressions of interest for developing the old College of Santa Fe campus in what is now called “Midtown Santa Fe.” The request directed to real estate developers and business entities is very detailed. But the request does not require a detailed process for public review, comment, and participation of the proposals. Many are questioning why.
An unqualified Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), along with the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Energy, has submitted more than one proposal to be the Master Developer or perhaps a tenant in other proposals. The request asks for Developers with experience in higher education, civic use, residential and mixed use, creative arts and design, entrepreneurship and new business, and open space and recreation. However, LANL does not have this experience. They have been cited again and again for poor safety and management. In fact, LANL-related messes remain in Santa Fe. They include the Nuclear Laundry http://www.nuclearactive.org/docs/laundryinfo.html , the abandoned Eberline Instruments facility https://www.sfreporter.com/news/news-coverstories/2017/09/28/nuclear-neighborhood-2/ and https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2018/10/29/congressman-requests-records-on-airport-road-nuke-facility/ , and most recently, the LANL contractors who brought contaminated roofing materials to the Caja del Rio landfill https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lanl-faces-state-penalties-over-waste-violations/article_a18a4fef-8542-5e11-bf74-72839d3bd5c3.html .
Midtown Santa Fe, a 66-acre parcel, which may be expanded to 100 acres, is located between St. Michael’s Drive, Siringo Road, Camino Carlos Rey, and Cerrillos Road, thus the name, “Midtown.” https://midtowndistrictsantafe.com/ and https://www.santafenm.gov/midtown_site
Proposals were due on October 31st. Since then, an Evaluation Committee led by the Midtown Project Director Daniel Hernandez and includes directors of key city departments, has been reviewing and evaluating the proposals behind closed door. There have been a few leaks: articles in the Santa Fe New Mexican https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/city-mum-on-proposals-for-santa-fe-s-midtown-campus/article_f25cef7b-ceab-524a-80bc-29e5896c75d6.html ; https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/santa-fe-receives-proposals-to-redevelop-midtown-campus/article_ec2199c2-5228-5b83-a2c4-7c1241e704a9.html ; and https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/business/developer-proposals-hint-at-what-s-in-store-for-city/article_2ec04f5c-156f-53fe-b034-9939ea167b4a.html as well as discussions at Journey, a Sunday morning public interest group, at Collected Works Bookstore. https://www.journeysantafe.com/ [The Mayor spoke on January 12, 2020.] But there has been no formal public comment process. There is no community member on the Evaluation Committee.
The City plans to notify the finalists on Wednesday, January 15th. The Los Alamos Study Group announced its plans to hold a press conference that day at noon at Santa Fe City Hall. For more information, go to https://www.lasg.org/
Cynthia Weehler, a community activist, spoke at this week’s City Council meeting. She pointed out that the Mayor said at Journey that the City Council will “use what they learned” about what the public wants in order to make a decision. She said, “Mayor, … if we were given an opportunity to inform City Council of our wishes it was not something most of us were aware of. And this is my point: because we, the people of Santa Fe, will have to live with the consequences of that decision, including urban sprawl, traffic, and changed cultural goals of the city, it should not be your decision alone. We have not been invited to the table, as we should have been. Do not make this decision without getting the public’s input.”
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LANL Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit renewal at the Pojoaque Valley Sixth Grade Academy, 1574 State Road 502 West. The permit includes Outfall 051 for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, which has not discharged since November 2010. Come to the meeting to question why Outfall 051 remains on the permit. https://www.epa.gov/nm/lanl-industrial-wastewater-permit-draft-permit-no-nm0028355-0
3. Thursday, January 16th – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a public meeting (beginning at 5 pm) and hearing (beginning at 7 pm) about the LANL Individual Stormwater Permit renewalat the Pojoaque Valley Sixth Grade Academy, 1574 State Road 502 West. This permit covers 405 site monitoring areas with the potential to discharge pollutants every time it rains or snows. Come to the meeting to question why EPA has not required LANL to remove the pollutants from the ground. https://www.epa.gov/nm/lanl-storm-water-individual-permit-draft-permit-no-nm0030759
4. Tuesday, January 21 at noon – The 2020 New Mexico Legislature begins its 30-day session. To learn more, go to https://www.nmlegis.gov/
5. Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th – The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will hold public meetings about its yet-to-be-submitted application for renewal of the ten-year hazardous waste permit to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
IN SANTA FE: January 23rd from 5 to 7 pm at the Santa Fe Hilton, 100 Sandoval Street, Santa Fe
IN CARLSBAD: January 30th from 5 to 7 pm at the Skeen-Whitlock Building, 4021 National Park Highway, Carlsbad
For more information and to view the draft hazardous waste facility permit, go to https://wipp.energy.gov/rcra-proposed-mods.asp
Tags: Caja del Rio Landfill, City of Santa Fe, Collected Works Bookstore, Cynthia Weehler, Department of Energy, Eberline Instruments, Evaluation Committee, Journey, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos Study Group, Master Developer, Midtown Santa Fe, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nuclear Laundry